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An Independence Activist

“A patriot’s highest calling is to do what he must for the sake of his nation.”

Dr. New dedicated his life to the welfare of Koreans and the economic development of the nation. He was recognized as a patriot during his lifetime, however, the full extent of Dr. New’s contribution to the liberation of Korea was discovered posthumously.

Ilhan New participated in the Overseas Korean Convention in 1941. He played a key role in the formation of the Mangho-Kun (Tiger Army), which was comprised of Koreans living in the United States. He also served in an advisory role to the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In 1942, Ilhan New became part of the NAPKO project, an OSS effort to infiltrate a small force of specially-trained Korean agents behind Japanese lines to collect intelligence, engage in sabotage, and harass Japanese forces with guerrilla tactics.

Despite being nearly 50 years old at the time of his participation in the NAPKO project, Dr. New endured a tough military training regimen — including jump (parachute) school — in preparation for this mission. Although the NAPKO project was abandoned after the August 15, 1945 Japanese surrender, and the subsequent liberation of Korea, Dr. New’s work with the OSS underscores his level of commitment to Korean independence. He was ready to risk his life for the freedom of his country.

An Independence Activist